We live in a society, and a world, that measures success based on measurable results. So it makes sense that beginning meditators look for particular sign posts to not only determine if they are doing it “correctly,” but that something is actually “happening.” Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, when it comes to meditation, measurable results are a luxury.
Susan Scott Morales, in her Ann Arbor post, reminds us that there is only one thing you need to remember when it comes to meditation: just do it. According to Morales, while it might appear that nothing profound is happening during a meditation practice, changes occur at more subtle levels. Moreover, that any good practice takes just that, practice, and if you are “trying” to meditate, you are missing the point.
If you are “trying” to meditate, that means you’re not letting go. There is tension in evaluating your meditations; you’re using your analytic mind. This is the most common problem I’ve observed for relaxation and meditation. If we’re thinking about what we’re doing, we can get in the way. For example, if I tell myself not to double fault in tennis, I’m likely to do it. If I visualize making an ace, I serve much better. My experience tells me that the visualizing part of the brain supports relaxation, and the analytic part increases tension in the body.
Read more from Morales on right-sizing your meditation expectations here.